Sunday, April 3, 2016

Great FREE Academic Support Sites for ELLs and other Struggling Students!


Welcome to April!  Isn’t it difficult to believe that the end school year is just around the corner? 

So with that fun thought in mind (and 10 more weeks to go), what can be done to support those few English language learners who are doing poorly though they seem to put their best efforts forward regularly in class?  What can a teacher do to address the needs of those students who just arrived in the middle of the school year (very common with ELLs)?  How can their fellow classmates help these students without neglecting their own studies?  There are many solutions here and this newsletter will focus on many of them.

Technology-In planning any lesson for a class, some special consideration must come into play in preparing ELLs to do well.  SHOWME is an app that allows a teacher to develop videos, power points, white board activities, etc. for free!  Get the app and use some of the lessons already on file.  This is a great tool to use for ELLs who need to go through the content again or for students who were absent for the lesson.  This app helps the teacher keep her/his sanityJ

How about providing students with virtual tours of historical sites?  These tours would be available online 24 hours a day and accessible through iPads, smart phones, laptops, etc.  When students have the option to revisit material at home without peer pressure (and more L1 support), they are more likely than not going to understand more and that builds self-confidence.  The Statue of Liberty tour is exceptionally well done.

Knowmia provides over 30,000 video lessons from great teachers (you may also submit one of your own that you are particularly proud of as well).  Just imagine how this might alleviate a student’s anxiety in not fully understanding a lesson.  Here, a teacher would provide the link to both student and parent to make the lesson more accessible.

Organized Small Group Activities are a must for not just ELLs, but for students in general.  Asking students to make their own groups is essentially a train wreck in the making (humor intended).  Teachers need to create the groups with a healthy mix of students and talents.  Students must be clear that every person in the group (and that there is not only a group grade but an individual one as well) must work. Each person in the group has an assigned task for which she/he will receive a grade as well as a grade for the group as a whole.  With clear expectations laid out, teacher going from group to group to randomly call on persons in the group for information on group’s progress, and time constraints (to keep them on track), everyone benefits. 

Alternative assessments are only limited by a teacher’s imagination.  ELLs (as well as students with special needs) may require other approaches to demonstrate their understanding of a topic.  This link provides many tools that would offer such students a way to say to the teacher and the class that they have the same understanding of a given topic that all the others have.  Great self-esteem and self-confidence builder guaranteed!

Have a great spring break!

Denise, Marnie, Cheryl
Pinterest (@dmcyberteacher) almost 5,000 followers (all academic topics)
Twitter @ell_teacherpros (over 4,000 followers)

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